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Cheese prices retreat from the year's highs

Nov. 15, 2013 | 0 comments


After the sharp drop in the spot market price for Cheddar cheese barrels on Wednesday of last week, Cheddar blocks followed suit on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange last week Friday with an eight-cent per pound fall.

Prices for both Cheddar blocks and barrels slipped a bit more through Wednesday of this week on the spot market, leaving the day's closing prices at $1.8025 per pound for blocks and $1.76 for barrels — down 10 and 3.75 cents per pound, respectively, from a week earlier.

In the spot market for AA butter, however, a steady price increase continued through Wednesday of this week. A market day of two unfilled bids to buy, one uncovered offer to sell, and one carload sale raised the price by two cents to $1.6050 per pound. Eight carloads were sold on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

Non-fat dry milk stands out as the top priced dairy commodity in the spot market. Following four carload sales earlier in the week, Grade A picked up another one cent as the result of an unfilled bid to buy one carload on Wednesday to close at $1.96 per pound. Grade Extra's price has been holding at $1.87 per pound since Nov. 7.

A very quiet dry whey futures market has had very little price movement during November. On Wednesday of this week, prices stood in tight range from a high of 57.325 cents per pound for December of 2013 to 50 cents for December of 2014.

Despite the downturn on Cheddar cheese spot market prices starting on Nov. 6, Class III milk futures prices have risen a bit for nearby months and changed very little through the remainder of 2014 and the early months of 2015.

In early afternoon trading on Wednesday of this week, Class III futures prices were $18.85 per hundred for November, $18.01 for December, $17.36 for January 2014, $17.01 for February, and in the high $16s or very low $17s per hundred for the remainder of 2014.

The October producer price differential for the Chicago base zone in Federal Milk Marketing Order 30 is 38 cents per hundred, bringing the month's statistical uniform base price for milk to $18.60 per hundred. Nearly 2.829 billion pounds of milk were pooled in Order 30 during October.

Of that milk, 86.3 percent was used in Class III for cheese production. Another 11.3 percent went to Class I for fluid milk bottling while a total of 2.4 percent went to Classes II and IV for soft dairy products, butter, and milk powder. The pooled milk had relatively high averages of 3.86 percent butterfat, 3.16 percent protein, and 5.71 percent other solids.

During the past week, Cooperatives Working Together made two announcements on the receipt of bids for financial assistance on the exports of dairy commodities.

One of them involved a batch of 11 bids from Bongard's Creameries in Minnesota, Foremost Farms USA, Tillamook County Creamery of Oregon, and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) for the export of 2.079 million pounds of Cheddar, Gouda, and Monterey Jack cheese to countries in Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East on deliveries scheduled from November to May of 2014.

The second announcement covered a batch of 32 bids from Bongard's, Land O'Lakes, Darigold Cooperative of Seattle, Tillamook, Foremost Farms, and DFA. They account for 3.344 million pounds of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and 3.463 million pounds of butter for buyers in Asia, Central America, Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East on deliveries from November to April of 2014.

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